NSFW - Cultural Appropriateness

Just f*ck it: Wildly offensive English Language t-shirts are apparently all the rage in Asia

Warning: clicking on the link above might cause offense.

What are your thoughts when you read this?

I was thinking: I hope whoever makes these garments has no idea what they are doing. Once made, you can't blame people for buying them. They may be cheap and on sale, and the purchaser may have no real idea of what they are wearing, or believe that what they are wearing is "cool". However, all words have content (the meaning of the words) and context (the broader implications of using one word over another, and how appropriate, or inappropriate that usage is). In these examples, both clash somewhat painfully (and humorously, it has to be said). It's easy to imagine someone being offended when reading some of these, or for it being a little (at least) unwise for someone to wear these among people who know content and context and therefore know what the words mean.

Next time I pick up a T-shirt with some cool-looking wording in Thai, Chinese characters, Russian cyrillic script, Arabic or Urdu, I'll think twice about what those words might actually mean to a native speaker, and whether the context of those words is culturally appropriate or not.


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Intercultural Training and Consulting

 

Sophie Simons

1-281 433 5254  Sophie@EncounterCultures.com

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